You would think by now it would be easy. After all, I’ve written and published five novels and a bunch of short stories. I have idea notes, planning notes, things-to-fix-in-the-rewrite notes, and problem-solving notes.
But writing the first draft is still hard. In fact, some days it’s a real struggle. And yet, it lurches forward.
The work in progress is a sequel, which complicates things. It means I have to know everything each character knows about all kinds of things. Who knows what? Who lied to whom? It’s amazing how many details I’ve forgotten from the previous book, even though I wrote it.
Some characters from the first book have changed quite a bit. I need to account for those changes–plausibly, and in a way that contributes to the plot.
It will be bad news if something I think is crucial for the sequel doesn’t line up with, or even contradicts, something important in the first book. (A good argument for writing both books before publishing the first one.)
Then there’s First Draft Daily Anxiety Syndrome. I’ve managed to keep up with the page a day resolution I made back in December, but knowing I have to put in the required time every day to crank out the next page or two can be a cloud on my horizon as I emerge gummy-eyed from sleep.
Strange thing, though: sitting down and picking up the pen has an almost magical effect. With only the vaguest idea of what is going to happen next, I start to write, and a scene unfolds, complete with details and nuances. (Whether it will stand the test of the rewrite is another issue.)
I’m 85% through the first draft and on schedule to finish it by the end of June. The trouble is, now that daylight arrives early and lingers late, the garden exercises its own allure. I may have to shift my writing sessions from first thing in the morning to what I call Glare Time, the hours between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., when the light is harsh and bright and the garden is devoid of magic.
Never mind–at least now I can finally see the day I’ll get this one off the ground!
Fellow writers, I’m sure many of you have WIPs under way. What works for you? What gives you fits? Share your WIP woes and wins.